Clara's Clearing

Clara's Clearing

Wrapping it up: Overview and self-evaluation

Friday, August 19, 2011

This blog is part of Educating My Boy: Chronicles of a Free-Schooler

To wrap up sixth grade I did two things. First I reviewed what we had covered during the year. I went over the notes I had taken for and during our lessons. Jack certainly didn’t “remember” everything. I had to put things that he didn’t remember in context and then it would ring a bell – or not!

But as I put it before, I’m not very concerned over kids remembering everything they are taught. “Remembering” is often a form of demonstrating that you have “learned” something. Learning is more invisible than that; it takes place on a much deeper level. Kids can’t help learning. So I was happy to just go over what we had read or talked about, whether Jack “remembered” or not. He just listened and made an occasional comment. That was good enough for me.

The second thing that I did was that I asked Jack to write a self-evaluation for sixth grade. I got the idea from my ballet school. (I’m always learning things from teachers of dance!) I thought it was a great idea to get kids to think about how they did during the year. I think that’s a much better indication of progress than how we think they did.

Here’s Jack letter of self-evaluation to me, exactly as he wrote it:

Dear mom-teacher,
This year I think that I did well, but to you I probably didn’t reach your expectations. It was fun at times and it is fun home schooling though I do have a feeling that I will go back to high school to experience real school and to get a high school degree. Yes I do understand that I can get one through home school but still I am straying away from the subject, this year was interesting, strange, but fun. It could get annoying at times, but it was enough to understand that it wasn’t just torture – like in school –, it was also learning so that is sort of why I think home schooling is for me. Most of all this was a hard year, but I learned and that was the whole point! If I was to say that I learned as much as I could have, I would be lying. There was much we could have done, but just as everything, there is a reason! That reason is that we were new, so we had to get used to it and lots of things happened such as the move! I also appreciate the effort you put into it! Next year I hope it will be better – no, you know what? I will make it change!! I will work harder, I will do my own research, and best of all, I will go out more!! J
Love,
Jack

Not bad! Contrary to what he says Jack did reach my expectations in all things “academic.” My only complaint, as always, was too much screen time which took him away from going out and doing more physical things. So now all my readers are witness that he promised to do more going out next year! (Is that too much to expect?)

Reviewing my notes I came across this comment of Jack’s that I had not incorporated into any of my blogs. It is actually a relevant one for this “wrapping up” blog:

Our lessons together are more boring than school – in a sense. In the sense that in a classroom there are other kids and that makes things more fun.

Sadly, I can never match school for providing other kids. Jack definitely misses being with other kids (does he “remember” how miserable he was when he was with other kids?) and I think that is the main reason behind his contradictory feelings about being homeschooled. In his self-evaluation he says that he wants to someday be in a “real school” while in the next sentence he says “homeschooling is for me.”

I think once we have worked out the misery and the conflicted feelings of Jack’s elementary school years we will all be much happier – whether or not Jack decides to return to school. (And I have to admit I hope he does.)


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